We all have our free agency and God holds us accountable for the way we use it in thought and deed. "Kindness, compassion, and love are powerful instruments in strengthening us to carry heavy burdens imposed without any fault of our own and to do what we know to be right." Elder Dallin H. Oaks
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The mayor of a Washington town has directed pastors to stop invoking the name “Jesus Christ” in city council invocations.
Don Jensen, the mayor of Longview, Wash., told the Kelso-Longview Ministerial Association that prayers mentioning Christ were not acceptable because they could expose the city to a lawsuit.
The decision has sparked controversy in the city – located about 50 miles north of Portland, Ore.
Mark Schmutz, who pastors the Northlake Baptist Church, said if they can’t speak the name Jesus Christ, association ministers will no longer provide the invocation.
“We need to be able to speak Jesus’ name,” he told The Daily News. “They’re asking us not to do what we’re called to do. This is the one and only true God. We’re not trying to be against anybody – we’re just being clear about what we’re for.
Local ministers have been leading City Council invocations for more than 50 years – and until recently there had never been any complaints.
That changed when resident Dan Smith started raising concerns about the constitutionality of prayers that include the name of Christ and whether it was appropriate for the ministerial association to be responsible for the prayers.
“I do fully realize that this may not be a popular thing for you to do, but as an elected public official it is the right thing to do,” he wrote in a letter to council members.
Smith describes himself as a “comfortable atheist” – and called the longtime prayers an embarrassment. He hinted that unless the prayers were dropped it might lead to a lawsuit.
The city’s attorney said invocations are certainly permitted under the Constitution but what is unclear is whether the prayers can invoke the name of Jesus Christ.
Mayor Jensen told the newspaper he regretted having to issue the edict.
“It’s not my choice to stop this, but I don’t know how we can put our citizens at jeopardy and cost our city and our citizens a lot of money,” he said.
Jensen said the invocations set the right tone for their meetings and said it encouraged residents to be “more friendly.”
“Wherefore the Lord said, Forasmuch as this people draw near mewith their mouth, and with their lips do honour me, but have removed their heart far from me, and their fear toward me is taught by the precept of men.”Isaiah 29:13 .
‘SIGNS OF THE TIMES’
Second Coming of Jesus Christ:
At the beginning of the Millennial Era, Christ will return to the earth. This event will mark the end of the mortal probation of this earth. The wicked will be removed from the earth and the righteous will be caught up in a cloud while the earth is cleansed. While no man knows exactly when Christ will come for the second time, He has given us signs to watch for that indicate the time is drawing near (Matt. 24; JS—M 1).
I know that my Redeemer shall stand at the latter day upon the earth: Job 19:25;
“For the hour is nigh and the day soon at hand when the earth is ripe; and all the proud and they that do wickedly shall be as stubble; and I will burn them up, saith the Lord of Hosts, that wickedness shall not be upon the earth;
For the hour is nigh, and that which was spoken by mine apostles must be fulfilled; for as they spoke so shall it come to pass;
May we humble ourselves and take a stand for righteousness and against wickedness. If we don’t quit pulling away from the Lord our God, as prophecies have told, He will pull away from us and then the end will come.
It’s time to take a stand for good or evil!
On which side will you be standing?
When we are not doing what we know we ought to be doing and when we are not living the way we know we ought to live, we have a tendency to be unhappy. And make no mistake about it, we know when we are not doing what we ought to do because every one of us has a conscience. We are born with the Spirit of Christ, and we know instinctively what is right and what is wrong when it comes to our personal behavior. It offends that spirit when we allow ourselves and our values and standards to be manipulated by aesthetic propaganda in behalf of Satan’s lies.
Not all film or television or publishing or music is evil, because you and I both know that that is simply not true. There is much that is good in the media, and it can be a wondrous and marvelous thing and a blessing in our lives. But some of it is evil; there can be no other word to describe it.
In the media today, I think we would have to say that evil influence has a far more dominant influence than has the good.
We are in a war!
Our Heavenly Father and his beloved Son Jesus Christ have given a plan for us and our children, and we have the responsibility as parents and leaders to teach and protect all children throughout the world. Success will come as we become more expert and more able to harness the wonderful technology that the media has given to us and our families.
When we watch media we engrave certain thoughts on your minds and we carry it with us as we walk through life. Lets give the Lord equal time and share our thoughts, our time, our talent, and our attention. I know that we are all very busy with school and work and social responsibilities. This is a critical time in our lives when we are establishing a foundation for our families and our careers. There are many demands for our attention, and our time is limited by a wide variety of constraints. But as we learn to manage our time, be sure that we give the Lord His portion.
Establish a time and place to study the scriptures on a daily basis, even if it’s only for a few minutes at a time. Pray regularly. Serve others faithfully. Those of you who are beginning your families, start now–even when your children are infants–to spend meaningful time with your family at home where good lessons are taught and pleasant family activities are shared. In the great scheme of things, these things take so little time. But the long-term benefits to you and to your families are infinite and eternal, and they will do much to prepare you and your children for the steadily increasing challenges of the future.
These are the last days. As has been foretold by God’s holy prophets since the world began, they are challenging times, and they are going to become even more challenging. So wherein is our safety? Where is our peace? Where is our joy? Where is our inner security?
Safety, peace, joy, and security are found only in the life and mission of Jesus Christ, the Son of Almighty God. We must embrace His teachings, give up all of our sins, repent and do all that is in our power to do to come unto Him in a true spirit of discipleship, knowing perfectly well that it is through His grace that we are saved, even after all that we can do. And as we give ourselves to Christ, fully and completely, we find safety, peace, joy, and security in Him.
Does that mean we will not have turmoil or personal problems or sickness or family challenges or employment difficulties? Not at all. But it does mean that if our faith is anchored securely in our testimonies of Christ, we will be able to cope with whatever adversity comes our way, and we will be able to do so in a positive, faith-promoting manner. If we keep the eye of faith focused on Christ, we gain a broader view and an eternal perspective, and with that we can understand adversity from within the context of God’s eternal plan for all of His children. And we can find comfort in this life in the eternal safety, peace, joy, and security that He promises.
“Train up a child in the way he should go;
and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” Proverbs 22:6
Now …, seeing that thou hast been taken in thy lying and craftiness, for thou hast not lied unto men only but thou hast lied unto God; for behold, he knows all thy thoughts, and thou seest that thy thoughts are made known unto us by his Spirit;
And will ye pollute me among my people for handfuls of barley and for pieces of bread, to slay the souls that should not die, and to save the souls alive that should not live, by your lying to my people that hear your lies?
Judgment also will I lay to the line, and righteousness to the plummet: and the hail shall sweep away the refuge of lies, and the waters shall overflow the hiding place. Isaiah 28:17
Nevertheless they did flatter him with their mouth, and they lied unto him with their tongues. Psalms 78:36
Deliver my soul, O Lord, from lying lips, and from a deceitful tongue. Psalms 120:2
Just ADDED a Video about “Secret Combinations” of which these are!
These “SECRET COMBINATIONS” are around TODAY and we have been warned to recognize them. They took down the people who lived in this land as recorded in the Book of Mormon many years ago, and they will take our people down if we do not watch out for them and stop them! They have been around since the days of Cain!
The story of the American Covenant begins with the God of Abraham directing chosen people to a promised land, known today as America. His purpose behind this new nation and its covenant was to establish a socio-political foundation whereupon His children might fully exercise their agency to choose Christ and His gospel and thus qualify themselves for eternal life. If we are to fully grasp the meaning behind all of this, we must first understand certain basic concepts.
What is a “national covenant?
Why is it improtant?
Why should we think to apply such a covenant to the United States of America?
And finally, what do the scriptures teachus about the stated promises and obligations of the proposed covenant in America?
When we consider what a covenant is, our minds rightly reflect upon personal promises made with our Heavenly Father. We promise to keep His commandments and He promises us great gifts such as His Holy Spirit and Eternal Life. There are far and away the most significant covenants, as they directly fulfill the purposes of God by assisting His children to fill the measure of their creation. Timothy Ballard
“The American Covenant is a relevant today as it ever was.
Consider the following warning from President Gordon B. Hinckley – a prophet not only to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-dauy Saints, but to the nation and world – which he gave specifically to our American generation:
“For a good while, there has been going on in this nation a process that I have termed the secularization of America. The single most substantial factor in the degeneration of the values and morals of our society is that we as a nation are forsaking the Almighty, and I fear that He will begin to forsake us. We are shutting the door against the God whose sons and daughters we are . . .Future blessings will come only as we deserve them.
Can we expect peace and prosperity, harmony and goodwill, when we turn our backs on the Source of strength? If we are to continue to have the freedoms that evolved within the structure that was the inspiration of the Almighty to our Founding Fathers, we must return to the God who is their true Author… God bless America for it is His creation.”
No longer need these universal questions remain unanswered.
My beloved brothers and sisters, this morning I wish to speak to you of eternal truths—those truths which will enrich our lives and see us safely home.
Everywhere people are in a hurry. Jet-powered aircraft speed their precious human cargo across broad continents and vast oceans so that business meetings might be attended, obligations met, vacations enjoyed, or families visited. Roadways everywhere—including freeways, thruways, and motorways—carry millions of automobiles, occupied by more millions of people, in a seemingly endless stream and for a multitude of reasons as we rush about the business of each day.
In this fast-paced life, do we ever pause for moments of meditation—even thoughts of timeless truths?
When compared to eternal verities, most of the questions and concerns of daily living are really rather trivial. What should we have for dinner? What color should we paint the living room? Should we sign Johnny up for soccer? These questions and countless others like them lose their significance when times of crisis arise, when loved ones are hurt or injured, when sickness enters the house of good health, when life’s candle dims and darkness threatens. Our thoughts become focused, and we are easily able to determine what is really important and what is merely trivial.
I recently visited with a woman who has been battling a life-threatening disease for over two years. She indicated that prior to her illness, her days were filled with activities such as cleaning her house to perfection and filling it with beautiful furnishings. She visited her hairdresser twice a week and spent money and time each month adding to her wardrobe. Her grandchildren were invited to visit infrequently, for she was always concerned that what she considered her precious possessions might be broken or otherwise ruined by tiny and careless hands.
And then she received the shocking news that her mortal life was in jeopardy and that she might have very limited time left here. She said that at the moment she heard the doctor’s diagnosis, she knew immediately that she would spend whatever time she had remaining with her family and friends and with the gospel at the center of her life, for these represented what was most precious to her.
Such moments of clarity come to all of us at one time or another, although not always through so dramatic a circumstance. We see clearly what it is that really matters in our lives and how we should be living.
Said the Savior:
“Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal:
“But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal:
“For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”1
In our times of deepest reflection or greatest need, the soul of man reaches heavenward, seeking a divine response to life’s greatest questions: Where did we come from? Why are we here? Where do we go after we leave this life?
Answers to these questions are not discovered within the covers of academia’s textbooks or by checking the Internet. These questions transcend mortality. They embrace eternity.
Where did we come from? This query is inevitably thought, if not spoken, by every human being.
The Apostle Paul told the Athenians on Mars’ Hill that “we are the offspring of God.”2 Since we know that our physical bodies are the offspring of our mortal parents, we must probe for the meaning of Paul’s statement. The Lord has declared that “the spirit and the body are the soul of man.”3 Thus it is the spirit which is the offspring of God. The writer of Hebrews refers to Him as “the Father of spirits.”4 The spirits of all men are literally His “begotten sons and daughters.”5
We note that inspired poets have, for our contemplation of this subject, written moving messages and recorded transcendent thoughts. William Wordsworth penned the truth:
Parents ponder their responsibility to teach, to inspire, and to provide guidance, direction, and example. And while parents ponder, children—and particularly youth—ask the penetrating question, why are we here? Usually it is spoken silently to the soul and phrased, why am I here?
How grateful we should be that a wise Creator fashioned an earth and placed us here, with a veil of forgetfulness of our previous existence so that we might experience a time of testing, an opportunity to prove ourselves in order to qualify for all that God has prepared for us to receive.
Clearly, one primary purpose of our existence upon the earth is to obtain a body of flesh and bones. We have also been given the gift of agency. In a thousand ways we are privileged to choose for ourselves. Here we learn from the hard taskmaster of experience. We discern between good and evil. We differentiate as to the bitter and the sweet. We discover that there are consequences attached to our actions.
By obedience to God’s commandments, we can qualify for that “house” spoken of by Jesus when He declared: “In my Father’s house are many mansions. … I go to prepare a place for you … that where I am, there ye may be also.”7
Although we come into mortality “trailing clouds of glory,” life moves relentlessly forward. Youth follows childhood, and maturity comes ever so imperceptibly. From experience we learn the need to reach heavenward for assistance as we make our way along life’s pathway.
God, our Father, and Jesus Christ, our Lord, have marked the way to perfection. They beckon us to follow eternal verities and to become perfect, as They are perfect.8
The Apostle Paul likened life to a race. To the Hebrews he urged, “Let us lay aside … the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us.”9
In our zeal, let us not overlook the sage counsel from Ecclesiastes: “The race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong.”10 Actually, the prize belongs to him or her who endures to the end.
When I reflect on the race of life, I remember another type of race, even from childhood days. My friends and I would take pocketknives in hand and, from the soft wood of a willow tree, fashion small toy boats. With a triangular-shaped cotton sail in place, each would launch his crude craft in the race down the relatively turbulent waters of Utah’s Provo River. We would run along the river’s bank and watch the tiny vessels sometimes bobbing violently in the swift current and at other times sailing serenely as the water deepened.
During a particular race we noted that one boat led all the rest toward the appointed finish line. Suddenly, the current carried it too close to a large whirlpool, and the boat heaved to its side and capsized. Around and around it was carried, unable to make its way back into the main current. At last it came to an uneasy rest amid the flotsam and jetsam that surrounded it, held fast by the tentacles of the grasping green moss.
The toy boats of childhood had no keel for stability, no rudder to provide direction, and no source of power. Inevitably, their destination was downstream—the path of least resistance.
Unlike toy boats, we have been provided divine attributes to guide our journey. We enter mortality not to float with the moving currents of life but with the power to think, to reason, and to achieve.
Our Heavenly Father did not launch us on our eternal voyage without providing the means whereby we could receive from Him guidance to ensure our safe return. I speak of prayer. I speak too of the whisperings from that still, small voice; and I do not overlook the holy scriptures, which contain the word of the Lord and the words of the prophets—provided to us to help us successfully cross the finish line.
At some period in our mortal mission, there appears the faltering step, the wan smile, the pain of sickness—even the fading of summer, the approach of autumn, the chill of winter, and the experience we call death.
Every thoughtful person has asked himself the question best phrased by Job of old: “If a man die, shall he live again?”11 Try as we might to put the question out of our thoughts, it always returns. Death comes to all mankind. It comes to the aged as they walk on faltering feet. Its summons is heard by those who have scarcely reached midway in life’s journey. At times it hushes the laughter of little children.
But what of an existence beyond death? Is death the end of all? Robert Blatchford, in his book God and My Neighbor, attacked with vigor accepted Christian beliefs such as God, Christ, prayer, and particularly immortality. He boldly asserted that death was the end of our existence and that no one could prove otherwise. Then a surprising thing happened. His wall of skepticism suddenly crumbled to dust. He was left exposed and undefended. Slowly he began to feel his way back to the faith he had ridiculed and abandoned. What had caused this profound change in his outlook? His wife died. With a broken heart he went into the room where lay all that was mortal of her. He looked again at the face he loved so well. Coming out, he said to a friend: “It is she, and yet it is not she. Everything is changed. Something that was there before is taken away. She is not the same. What can be gone if it be not the soul?”
Later he wrote: “Death is not what some people imagine. It is only like going into another room. In that other room we shall find … the dear women and men and the sweet children we have loved and lost.”12
My brothers and sisters, we know that death is not the end. This truth has been taught by living prophets throughout the ages. It is also found in our holy scriptures. In the Book of Mormon we read specific and comforting words:
“Now, concerning the state of the soul between death and the resurrection—Behold, it has been made known unto me by an angel, that the spirits of all men, as soon as they are departed from this mortal body, yea, the spirits of all men, whether they be good or evil, are taken home to that God who gave them life.
“And then shall it come to pass, that the spirits of those who are righteous are received into a state of happiness, which is called paradise, a state of rest, a state of peace, where they shall rest from all their troubles and from all care, and sorrow.”13
After the Savior was crucified and His body had lain in the tomb for three days, the spirit again entered. The stone was rolled away, and the resurrected Redeemer walked forth, clothed with an immortal body of flesh and bones.
The answer to Job’s question, “If a man die, shall he live again?” came when Mary and others approached the tomb and saw two men in shining garments who spoke to them: “Why seek ye the living among the dead? He is not here, but is risen.”14
As the result of Christ’s victory over the grave, we shall all be resurrected. This is the redemption of the soul. Paul wrote: “There are … celestial bodies, and bodies terrestrial: but the glory of the celestial is one, and the glory of the terrestrial is another.”15
It is the celestial glory which we seek. It is in the presence of God we desire to dwell. It is a forever family in which we want membership. Such blessings are earned through a lifetime of striving, seeking, repenting, and finally succeeding.
Where did we come from? Why are we here? Where do we go after this life? No longer need these universal questions remain unanswered. From the very depths of my soul and in all humility, I testify that those things of which I have spoken are true.
Our Heavenly Father rejoices for those who keep His commandments. He is concerned also for the lost child, the tardy teenager, the wayward youth, the delinquent parent. Tenderly the Master speaks to these and indeed to all: “Come back. Come up. Come in. Come home. Come unto me.”
Our thoughts will turn to the Savior’s life, His death, and His Resurrection. As His special witness, I testify to you that He lives and that He awaits our triumphant return. That such a return will be ours, I pray humbly in His holy name—even Jesus Christ, our Savior and our Redeemer, amen.
What would society be like if everyone were perfectly honest?
“We believe in being honest.”
The scriptures tell us about a group of people who were “distinguished for their zeal towards God, and also towards men; for they were perfectly honest and upright in all things; and they were firm in the faith of Christ, even unto the end” (Alma 27:27). Because of their honesty, these people were noted by their fellowmen and by God. It is important to learn what honesty is, how we are tempted to be dishonest, and how we can overcome this temptation.
Complete honesty is necessary for our salvation. “If we accept salvation on the terms it is offered to us, we have got to be honest in every thought, in our reflections, in our meditations, in our private circles, in our deals, in our declarations, and in every act of our lives”. (B Young)
God is honest and just in all things (see Alma 7:20). We too must be honest in all things to become like Him. The brother of Jared testified, “Yea, Lord, I know that thou … art a God of truth, and canst not lie” (Ether 3:12). In contrast, the devil is a liar. In fact, he is the father of lies (see 2 Nephi 9:9). “Those who choose to cheat and lie and deceive and misrepresent become his slaves” (Mark E. Petersen).
Honest people love truth and justice. They are honest in their words and actions. They do not lie, steal, or cheat.
To Lie Is Dishonest
We are going to discuss three forms of dishonesty: lying, stealing, and cheating.
Lying is intentionally deceiving others. Bearing false witness is one form of lying. The Lord gave this commandment to the children of Israel: “Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour” (Exodus 20:16). Jesus also taught this when He was on earth (see Matthew 19:18). There are many other forms of lying. When we speak untruths, we are guilty of lying. We can also intentionally deceive others by a gesture or a look, by silence, or by telling only part of the truth. Whenever we lead people in any way to believe something that is not true, we are not being honest.
The Lord is not pleased with such dishonesty, and we will have to account for our lies. Satan would have us believe it is all right to lie. He says, “Yea, lie a little; … there is no harm in this” (2 Nephi 28:8). Satan encourages us to justify our lies to ourselves. Honest people will recognize Satan’s temptations and will speak the whole truth, even if it seems to be to their disadvantage.
To Steal Is Dishonest
Jesus taught, “Thou shalt not steal” (Matthew 19:18). Stealing is taking something that does not belong to us. When we take what belongs to someone else or to a store or to the community without permission, we are stealing. Taking merchandise or supplies from an employer is stealing. Copying music, movies, pictures, or written text without the permission of the copyright owners is dishonest and is a form of theft. Accepting more change or goods than one should is dishonest. Taking more than our share of anything is stealing.
To Cheat Is Dishonest
We cheat when we give less than we owe, or when we get something we do not deserve. Some employees cheat their employers by not working their full time; yet they accept full pay. Some employers are not fair to their employees; they pay them less than they should. Satan says, “Take the advantage of one because of his words, dig a pit for thy neighbor” (2 Nephi 28:8). Taking unfair advantage is a form of dishonesty. Providing inferior service or merchandise is cheating.
We Must Not Excuse Our Dishonesty
What happens to us spiritually when we excuse our dishonesty?
People use many excuses for being dishonest. People lie to protect themselves and to have others think well of them. Some excuse themselves for stealing, thinking they deserve what they took, intend to return it, or need it more than the owner. Some cheat to get better grades in school or because “everyone else does it” or to get even.
These excuses and many more are given as reasons for dishonesty. To the Lord, there are no acceptable reasons. When we excuse ourselves, we cheat ourselves and the Spirit of God ceases to be with us. We become more and more unrighteous.
We Can Be Completely Honest
What does it mean to be completely honest?
To become completely honest, we must look carefully at our lives. If there are ways in which we are being even the least bit dishonest, we should repent of them immediately.
When we are completely honest, we cannot be corrupted. We are true to every trust, duty, agreement, or covenant, even if it costs us money, friends, or our lives. Then we can face the Lord, ourselves, and others without shame. President Joseph F. Smith counseled, “Let every man’s life be so that his character will bear the closest inspection, and that it may be seen as an open book, so that he will have nothing to shrink from or be ashamed of”.
In what ways does our honesty or dishonesty affect how we feel about ourselves?
We offer a FREE NEWSLETTER to help “Strengthen The Family” in several ways: Physically, Mentally, Socially, Spiritually, and Financially.
Here is a sample of one of our Newsletters from Last Month:
Subject: GET NOI-Z (Noisy) NEWSLETTER Date: Saturday, March 31, 2012 11:15
‘LET’S TURN THE WORLD AROUND’
Life is T.U.F.F. but, So Are YOU!
By: Alan Osmond
Life is T.U.F.F.! But remember, when the going gets tough, the T.U.F.F. get going! You must be motivated and see the steps that need to be taken in order to accomplish your goals in life. You must believe in whatever you choose to do and to always remind yourself that “You can do it!” You must be strong with a positive mental attitude. If you think you can’t, you won’t! If you have the desire to achieve, you will! Where there’s a will, there’s a way.
Whenever I face challenges, I remember this slogan that I created as the way to accomplish it and overcome it. See if it works for you! This is the way:
T = Target – What is it you are trying to accomplish? If there is one thing that you wished to do, to accomplish or become in life, what would it be? Write it down and make that your TARGET!
U = Understand – To achieve your target, you need to UNDERSTAND all you can about it. Identify what it is and what the various factors that are involved; what needs to be done to affectively put it into your grasp so that you can achieve it? Figure out those steps that you need to take in order to win the challenge and write them down. Study the positive and the negative aspects of that which you are targeting so that you totally understand it and know what to do in order to take it on!
F = Focus – Don’t just go at your target without first establishing a FOCUS point on what you are aiming to achieve. Make a plan and a checklist of the do’s and don’ts and study it each and every day. Besides just thinking of it, keep your eye on it and really be sure to “Rifle In” on your Target! Do not just go at it with a “shotgun” approach. You may only get one shot at it so never lose site or what you must do and keep your FOCUS!
F = Fight – Nothing good comes easy or without effort. If you want something that is worth having, it will usually take a lot of effort and will be hard work to accomplish it. So, you must FIGHT for it!
What is it that you wish to target?
-A health challenge?
-A career or a job?
-A marriage partner?
-A great idea that you have?
Write it down! Seeing believing! You will then be able to visualize the steps that you have to take. Start by following the T.U.F.F. format and fill in the details for each step. Set goals and make in a daily effort. Visualize it. Think about it. Study it. Keep it in your mind! Little by little you will accomplish those steps and with the best shot you’ve got, your Target will be accomplished with a bull’s-eye!
It is very simple but, with patience and effort, it works!
Where in the world did I get this idea of being T.U.F.F.? It came experiences I had in life but especially when I was told that I had Multiple Sclerosis or M.S.. I didn’t know what M.S. was and the first thing I thought it might mean, “Many Sons”! My wife Suzanne and I were blessed to have eight sons.
Yes, raising sons in today’s world is a real challenge but this challenge called “Multiple Sclerosis” was a physical one and the doctors didn’t know what to do to fix it! I was in the prime of my life with a wonderful marriage and a family started plus my entertainment career was at its peak. I didn’t want this! So, instead of looking at it negatively, I asked myself, “What is it that I am to learn?”
I first noticed that when I would walk and trip up on something, I’d look down for something like a nail or what ever it was in the floor but, nothing was there! I also soon realized that when I played my trumpet, I couldn’t move my fingers as fast as before. With time, my right side began to fail and would not respond as it should and it caused me to drag my right food and arm.
With several doctors telling me “they didn’t know what it was but thought it might be M.S.”, and telling me that “nothing they knew could reverse it”, I realized I was facing this challenge alone with my wife and my family. That’s when after many sincere prayers and fasting that I came up with the idea of being T.U.F.F. with a plan to achieve my goal of getting better. I first started a positive approach by establishing an attitude in my mind and my heart by saying, “I may have M.S. but, M.S. does NOT have me!” Other ways of dealing with it came with time.
What took place over the next while was in realizing that besides having a positive outlook on this health challenge, I needed a plan of attack, and I needed to be tough! That is when the idea of T.U.F.F. came into my mind as I analyzed the steps that I needed to take in order to overcome my health weakness. Over time with determination and a positive attitude It seemed to be working! I changed my style of eating to mostly organic and healthy foods. I worked at walking with a focus on picking my leg up and I “talked to those muscles” that wouldn’t respond. I kept an open mind with a prayer in y heart and promised that I would do anything my Lord would ask of me to be able to live happily with my wife Suzanne and my eight sons and family who love me.
I was the oldest of our singing group, The Osmond Brothers, when my brothers Wayne, Merrill, and Jay, and I, and then Donny, were growing up. We were at a very young age to be on stage with a weekly national television show called The Andy Williams Show. Later on, my sister Marie and youngest brother Jimmy also joined the group. Our father said to us boys when we were rehearsing, that there needed to be one person in charge of the group and that I was the leader and the “boss”. I hated being call the boss and to have to be in charge of my brothers. They didn’t like it either but, it taught me many things about being responsible and in making sure that we all accomplished what we were sipposed to do while getting along with each other and making it fun. There had to be order and I was in charge. It wasn’t easy. In fact, it was also pretty tough! Besides that, my two oldest brothers, Virl and Tom were hearing impaired or deaf and often I would hear my parents say, “Alan, go get your brothers!”
I remembered when I turned nineteen and I got my orders to report to Fort Ord, California for active infantry training or boot camp, and to be trained as a soldier in the army during the time of the Vietnam War. I knew then that if I was going to succeed and become the best soldier I could, that I had better learn and remember all that I was taught and to do what I was supposed to do as it may someday save my life. It was hard work and it was almost was like they were brain washing us with what was expected of us during the war. It was so different from my civilian life and some of my fellow soldiers couldn’t take it. Staying positive was most important while always remaining tough myself.
I had never been away from my family like this before and for the first time I was on my own. You know it reality hits you hard when you don’t have that support system around you of loving parents and family members who stand by your side. Everything I did while I was in the military I tried to do well and to be the very best at it as I knew I was on my own.
The first day I was there in the army barracks, I heard more foul language and stories that I wish I had never heard. I realized that I needed to fit in with the other guys but to always be who I was. That night, I had a moment to prove it. The lights in the barracks were turned off, I laid in my bunk bed in a room filled with strangers that I had never known before. It was then that I realized that I hadn’t said my prayers of thanks to my Heavenly Father as I always do. I always knelt down beside my bed at night and offered my prayers. I hesitated thinking that these guys would all make fun of me and I didn’t want to stand out but to “fit in”. Just then, it was almost like a voice within me that said, “Do you fear man. . . or do you fear God?” I knew what I had to do and so I jumped out of my bunk and knelt down on the floor and said my prayers. It was probably the shortest prayer I have ever said but I said it! Before I could get back into my bunk bed I heard someone say, “Hey Osmond, say one for me!”
The next morning I was approached by several of those “tough talking” guys that asked me what I believed and what happens to someone if they died. With us facing this war, it was definitely on everyone’s mind and in their hearts. It was then that I had the opportunity to teach them some gospel principles of faith in Jesus Christ and His ‘Plan of Life’ with life for all after death. It brought several of us much closer together.
That period of time was really challenging for me
but I was successful and ended up receiving three basic training award trophies as a soldier. After completing my active infantry training, I received the highest grade on the overall testing, the highest scoring on the rifle marksmanship shooting skills test, and I was voted by all of the military training staff as The Outstanding Trainee. I had no idea they gave trophies for doing what I did, but I got them. The best thing that happened though was when the loudest and foulest mouth guy who became our platoon sergeant came to me before we got our orders to go to Viet Nam. He said, “Osmond, can I talk to you? … Alone?” I said, “Yes”, and we went int the empty barracks. He said to me, “You really believe that there is someone up there don’t you? (Meaning that therer is a God.) I said, “Yes”. He said, “Oh I wish I knew somebody loved me. When I was five years old, my Dad made me go out and steal money and stuff just so I could stay at home.” (I listened and just let him talk.) He said, “Would you teach me to pray?” I said, “Sure”, and explained a simple way to approach prayer. I then told him I would say one first to show him how, and then he could say one. I did and then it was his turn. He said a simple yet touching prayer and became somewhat emotional. We stood up and he gave me a bear hug and said, “Now, I can go to “Nam”! These were some of the experiences that I related to when I came up with a way to achieve my new challenges and goals and in being T.U.F.F.!
I come from a family heritage of school teachers and educators on my Mother’s side of the family (Olive May Davis), and a strong, driving, hard working and a ‘never give up’ style from my Father, George V. Osmond, and his side of the family whose life had always been one of hard work but with a “you can do it” attitude. In fact, when I was doing my physical test in the army to see if we could run a mile in full battle gear in under 6:00 minutes. I was running as hard as I could and I felt like I was going to die. I kept pushing hard andcame in second place just behind a fast running athlete soldier. You see, it was then that I had remembered my Father’s slogan “You Can Do It!” . . … and I did!
My Mother, Olive Osmond, who was also a theologian and knew the scriptures very well, taught us about God’s plan of life. She taught us much about gospel truths and about the beliefs of various other religions. In knowing and understanding this, and as a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, (Mormons) I studied and developed a burning testimony of the Lord Jesus Christ. My mother also instilled into me her positive attitude and desire to gain as much truth and knowledge as I could by reading from the best books. She love to read and taught us the scripture that supported her thinking like this scripture says, “Whatever principle of intelligence we attain unto in this life, itwillrisewith us intheresurrection. And if a person gains more knowledgeand intelligence in this life through his diligenceand obedience than another, he will have so much the advantageinthe world to come.” D&C 130: 18-19
She explained to us that knowledgeis more about the information of many things but that intelligence is the knowledge of those spiritual things that are eternal and that are good yesterday, today and forever. This understanding became a guide for me to follow in deciding which books I chose to read and which movies and entertainment I would go and see and for those choices that I targeted to understand and know.
So, when you think of something that you want to accomplish and “Target” to achieve, I hope you will ask yourself if it is a worthy goal and worth your time. Is it something that will be long lasting and become significant enough in that it makes you a better person and which fulfills your life long dreams and ambitions as well as sets the course for your eternal existence?
One thing we all have is the “Power To Choose” ; to make decisions and choices of our own free will and choice. Those choices that we make in life, we will be held responsible and held accountable. This is why good principles are important in one’s life. When lived, they will influence you in the kinds of choices and decisions you will make in your life.
Your good choices will probably take a definite amount of time and effort on your part and will require some extensive work as well. But that is okay! This is why we are here in this life; to learn and to grow. We are told that the Glory of God is intelligence and if we attain more truth and knowledge in this life, it will rise with us in the resurrection. So it’s an investment in you and your future!
”As Spirit children of God, we all left our Heavenly Parents to come to this world to prove ourselves. A veil covered our momories which was necessary so we could exercise our agency to choose good or evil without our Heavenly Parents influence. Our earthly parents gave us a body of flesh and bones and we learned the purpose for us to progress in order to have a fulness of joy. We learned that we would be deceived, choose other paths, and lose our way; that we would have trials in our lives like sickness, disappointment, pain, sorrow and death. We understood that these would be given to us for our experience and for our good and that these trials would purify us rather than defeat us. They would teach us to have endurance, patience, and charity. (To be T.U.F.F.)
We also learned that because of our weakness, all of us except little children would sin. We learned that a Savior would be provided for us so we could overcome our sins and overcome death with resurrection. We learned that by placing our faith in Him, obeying His word and following His example, we would be resurrected, exalted, and become more like our Heavenly parents and live forever! That’s when we receive a fulness of joy!
That is God’s Plan of Life.
So… “Let’s Be T.U.F.F.” and ‘GET NOI-Z’ (Noisy) FOR GOOD because it is WORTH IT!
We hope you, your family and friends will enjoy these Newsletters!
The idea of the coming of the Lord as a Great and Dreadful day is a chaismus phrase highlighting details of particular importance. It will be a great day and it will be a dreadful day depending upon each individual’s view of the return of the Lord. It is a point of view of how one sees it.
It is a Chiastic pattern or ring structure used as a literary device applied to narrative motifs that is commonly seen in ancient literature and in the Hebrew Bible and the New Testament, to emphasize, parallel, or contrast concepts or ideas to give meaning to their writings or to highlight details.
The details of the Coming of the Lord to some will be a GREAT DAy and a DREADFUL DAY to others. It depends on how you have lived your life and what place Jesus Christ plays in your life.
There are opposites in all things. Where there is Good, there is Bad; Righteous, Evil; On, Off; Light, Darkness; Right, Wrong; Beginning, End.
To some a glass of water is half full; to others half empty.
It is all in how one looks at things. Life can be looked at the same way; from both sides; Up and Down.
In a song I wrote it sings, “Life is just what you make it. Life is just what you want it to be.” It can be a Great Life or a Dreadful life. You Make the Bed You Sleep In.
Scripture teaches: “For it must needs be, that there is an oppositioninallthings. If not so, my first-born in the wilderness, righteousness could not be brought to pass, neither wickedness, neither holiness nor misery, neither good nor bad. Wherefore, allthings must needs be a compound in one; wherefore, if it should be one body it must needs remain as dead, having no life neither death, nor corruption nor incorruption, happiness nor misery, neither sense nor insensibility.
Wherefore, it must needs have been created for a thing of naught; wherefore there would have been no purposein the end of its creation. Wherefore, this thing must needs destroy the wisdom of God and his eternal purposes, and also the power, and the mercy, and the justice of God.
And if ye shall say there is no law, ye shall also say there is no sin. If ye shall say there is no sin, ye shall also say there is no righteousness. And if there be no righteousness there be no happiness. And if there be no righteousness nor happiness there be no punishment nor misery. And if these things are not there is no God. And if there is no God we are not, neither the earth; for there could have been no creation of things, neither to act nor to be acted upon; wherefore, allthings must have vanished away.”2 Ne. 2: 11-13
“Wherefore, ye must press forward with a steadfastness in Christ, having a perfect brightness of hope, and a love of God and of all men. Wherefore, if ye shall press forward, feasting upon the word of Christ, and endure to the end, behold, thus saith the Father: Ye shall have eternal life.”2 Ne. 31: 20
If you believe in God and His Son Jesus Christ, then you should look forward to the Second Coming of The Lord
“BEHOLD, I will reveal unto you the Priesthood, by the hand of Elijah the prophet, before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord.” D&C 2: 1
Behold, the time has fully come, which was spoken of by the mouth of Malachi—testifying that he [Elijah] should be sent, before the great and dreadful day of the Lord come— To turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the children to the fathers, lest the whole earth be smitten with a curse— Therefore, the keys of this dispensation are committed into your hands; and by this ye may know that the great and dreadful day of the Lord is near, even at the doors.” D&C 110: 14
“After this vision had closed, another great and glorious vision burst upon us; for Elijah the prophet, who was taken to heaven without tasting death, stood before us, and said:
Behold, the time has fully come, which was spoken of by the mouth of Malachi—testifying that he [Elijah] should be sent, before the great and dreadful day of the Lord come— To turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the children to the fathers, lest the whole earth be smitten with a curse— Therefore, the keys of this dispensation are committed into your hands; and by this ye may know that the great and dreadful day of the Lord is near, even at the doors.” D&C 110: 13-16
No one, not even the angels in heaven knows exactly when Jesus Christ shall return. There are events or experiences that God gives to people to show that something important in his work has happened or will soon happen. They are called, ‘The Signs of the Times‘. In the latter days, many signs for the secondcoming of the Savior have been prophesied. These signals allow faithful people to recognize God’s plan, be warned, and prepare.
I like Glenn Beck’s take on the future: “Tomorrow Can and Will Be Better.” He expresses it in a chiastic form. Which way do you read it?
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